Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Pool A: Canada v Japan

A Draw! 23-23! I didn’t see that one coming. Got to admit, I was late home so missed most the first half ... but this looks like the Classic Fitzy™ Game of Two Halves. Japan having the first 40, then having to defend more in the second stanza (stanza!) as the Canucks chased the win.

I don’t think a crowd in Napier has been that entertained since Flash the Seal passed away at Marineland .. but these players are no trick mammals, once again we got shown just how good this level is. I suppose Canada get bragging rights because they beat Tonga and therefore finish third behind New Zealand and France, thus gaining automatic qualification for RWC 2015, but they both would have loved a win. I guess the Kiwi and neutral fans are the winners as they don’t actually have to choose between two very skilled and popular teams.

Japan: Captain Kitigawa seems a gentle giant, I loved his earnest aftermatch interviews; Tanaka the tenacious little halfback; Horie the Hooker who never stopped pumping his legs in rucks, mauls and tackles; and Endo on the wing. Not to mention our two Kiwi reps, the superbly skilled James Arlisge and Ryan Nicholas. They’d get Super contracts those two.

Canada: Beards, grins & grit. Kleeberger gets a folk hero nod, as does that Energizer Bunny of a centre DTH van der Merwe ... who name on forms must make Customs officials think of party drugs.

Its a crying shame they are oot now, but at least they can both be sure they will be back at the World Cup in four years.

Sayonara, Brave Blossoms. Arigato. I actually quite fancy one of their jerseys.

Canada ... cheers, eh?


Stephen M said...

Hopefully this will give Canada more international experience and exposure. They were clearly showing their jitters and feeling the pressure - they made far fewer handling errors and lapses of discipline against Tonga. What these second tier teams need is more exposure and experience for the players...so that when they get to the world stage they aren't overwhelmed by the event and can play their best rugby.

Nursedude said...

Canada still seems to have a good shot at finishing 3rd in group, which would be an automatic ticket for 2015.

mikel said...

It's a long-standing "thing" for Canada - on the big stage when all things are pointing to a win, handling errors increase, discipline suffers and otherwise good players hold on to the ball too tightly. Very frustrating!

Although NZ will be a huge challenge and Canada will have to have a lot of class just to keep it remotely close, I kind of expect them to play better, more relaxed.

But third place is HUGE for any team in this competition - the ticket to 2015 is part of it, but I've also read that it gets a team on the regular test schedule with Tier 1 teams.

Also - it would be awesome of some of the Canadians were able to sign with top-flight European teams - in the old days (early 90s) Canada boasted a team whose key players were all playing at the top level of UK and French rugby - Wasps, Stade, Perpignan, etc.

Ferdy said...

Canada have really impressed me this world cup. I expect them to give NZ a good game, especially in the first forty minutes.

As for Japan. I'm sorry they have come away without a win in this world cup. They really took France close and played an exciting brand of rugby.

Love JK. Always have, always will. Would rather he be the next NZ coach over the likes of Colin Cooper or Pat Lamb.

[ the clean slate ] said...

It was very frustrating to watch the missed tackles and kicks. It impacts momentum. The whole game from Canada felt very tight from the first kick off and it doesn't help when Pritchard had to go out with the knock out. I am still a little confused as to why Crowley took Riorden off...Hamilton ran the ball at pace but his dicey line out throwing wasn't something that Canada could really afford at that point in the game.

I am looking forward to this weekend where Canada can let loose a bit. I think there's still a bit of something up their sleeves.